11 Ways Diabetics Can Manage Peripheral Neuropathy
Nerve damage from diabetes – also called neuropathy – occurs in about half of all people with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
There are several different types of neuropathy, and some even affect your organs, like your eyes. With peripheral neuropathy, which is the kind of neuropathy that affects your feet or hands, symptoms can vary from pain to tingling to numbness or a “pins and needles” feeling.
Because neuropathy becomes more common the longer you have diabetes, Grace Derocha, a certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, has had clients ask, “How much time before I get it?” The truth is that it varies from person to person. Some factors that can raise your risk for neuropathy, include obesity, smoking, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.
Here are some ways to help prevent and manage peripheral neuropathy.
Keep your blood sugar under control. You’ve heard this advice before, but it bears repeating. Diabetic nerve damage is caused by poor blood sugar control over time. “Excellent blood glucose control is important in both preventing diabetic neuropathy and keeping existing neuropathy from worsening,” says certified registered nurse practitioner Kristin Brown of The Diabetes Center, which is part of The Center for Endocrinology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Eat a healthy diet and take your medications or insulin as directed. If necessary, work with a registered dietitian to help with meal planning.